Off the beaten path: an interview with Pieter Potters, R&D manager at Ridley Bikes.

We’re all about the love for (gravel)bikes, especially with Ridley Bikes as our main partner, we thought it’d be fun to pull back the curtain and spill the beans on Ridley and their connection to the Dirty Boar. Pieter, R&D manager at Ridley, has taken on the Dirty Boar five times already. So, we figured, why not hit him up for a quick interview?

Pieter, you are the R&D Manager at Ridley. What does that mean?

As R&D Manager I am responsible for all our product developments. Together with our product managers and founder/CEO, I determine which models we will develop. Then I follow up the development work together with our R&D engineers. I am also responsible for starting up and monitoring our strategic innovation projects, for example on sustainable material use and circular economy.

How long does it usually take between the first idea for a new bicycle and when we can buy it in the store?

This varies greatly from project to project. For example, some products are developed with certain components or technologies in mind that are also still under development. Then a project can easily take several years. For the development of a new frame that uses existing parts, we calculate approximately 18 to 20 months between project start-up and commercial availability. For example, the prototypes of the Kanzo Adventure were built in June 2021 and those were then extensively tested (also during Dirty Boar 2021). The launch of the bike was on March 31st, 2022.

A prototype Kanzo Adventure ready for testing – © Ridley Bikes

Ridley has made significant investments in the gravel cycling scene lately. In your opinion, which Ridley bike do you believe is the perfect match for tackling the Dirty Boar?

We do have a wide range of gravel bikes at Ridley. Both the Kanzo Fast and the Kanzo Adventure can serve as ideal Dirty Boar bikes, both 100% gravel bikes. In the right hands, even our Grifn could serve as a Dirty Boar bike.

My personal preference is the Kanzo Adventure, especially because you can “let it go” in the downhill sections. Something that suits my background as a mountain biker.

Unfortunately, there is no bikepacker this year, but we will make up for that in 2024. What is the ideal Ridley for you for a solid portion of bikepacking?

That’s without a doubt our Kanzo Adventure. Equipped with all the features that a bikepacking bike needs (mounting points, clearance up to 2,1¨ tires, internal routing for a dynamo light) in combination with stable and forgiving handling.

Having finished the event five times already, what stands out as your fondest memory from the Dirty Boar?

Two editions stand out:
The first edition (2017) because it was my first introduction to an organized gravel event. The atmosphere was unique and the rain made it heroic. For this edition, I rode on a single speed which made it even more ‘interesting’.
The 2019 edition was also one from the ‘hashtag epic’ category, the weather was bad, but my legs were great that day. Together with my buddy Ief, I reached the finish after only eight hours.

Big Dirty Fun

Pieter Potters, R&D manager at Ridley Bikes

What was the toughest edition for you?

The 2022 edition. Not because of the weather or the course, but because of the mental aspect. For me, it was a mix of the warm feeling of cycling together with like-minded people and processing the death of my brother.

For those unfamiliar, could you give them the essence of Dirty Boar in three words?

Big Dirty Fun

Any last-minute advice for first-timers riding the Dirty Boar?

Save yourself for the second half and the final because it’s always tough. But especially enjoy being together with other gravel riders and the fantastic scenery in which you can ride.

Pieter Potters is an avid cyclist and R&D manager at Belgian Cycling Factory.

Ridley Bikes is a Belgian bicycle manufacturer known for producing a wide range of high-quality bikes, including road bikes, cyclocross bikes, and gravel bikes.

Pieter Potters on a Kanzo Adventure at Dirty Boar 2022 – Picture by Wouter Hendriksen / Gravelicious ©

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